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Phylogenetic diversity stabilizes community biomass

Pu, Zhichao and Daya, Poonim and Tan, Jiaqi and Jiang, Lin (2014) Phylogenetic diversity stabilizes community biomass. Journal of Plant Ecology, 7 (2). pp. 176-187. ISSN 1752-9921.

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Aims: The relationship between biodiversity and ecological stability is a long-standing issue in ecology. Current diversity–stability studies, which have largely focused on species diversity, often report an increase in the stability of aggregate community properties with increasing species diversity. Few studies have examined the linkage between phylogenetic diversity, another important dimension of biodiversity, and stability. By taking species evolutionary history into account, phylogenetic diversity may better capture the diversity of traits and niches of species in a community than species diversity and better relate to temporal stability. In this study, we investigated whether phylogenetic diversity could affect temporal stability of community biomass independent of species diversity. Methods: We performed an experiment in laboratory microcosms with a pool of 12 bacterivorous ciliated protist species. To eliminate the possibility of species diversity effects confounding with phylogenetic diversity effects, we assembled communities that had the same number of species but varied in the level of phylogenetic diversity. Weekly disturbance, in the form of short-term temperature shock, was imposed on each microcosm and species abundances were monitored over time. We examined the relationship between temporal stability of community biomass and phylogenetic diversity and evaluated the role of several stabilizing mechanisms for explaining the influence of phylogenetic diversity on temporal stability. Important Findings: Our results showed that increasing phylogenetic diversity promoted temporal stability of community biomass. Both total community biomass and summed variances showed a U-shaped relationship with phylogenetic diversity, driven by the presence of large, competitively superior species that attained large biomass and high temporal variation in their biomass in both low and high phylogenetic diversity communities. Communities without these species showed patterns consistent with the reduced strength of competition and increasingly asynchronous species responses to environmental changes under higher phylogenetic diversity, two mechanisms that can drive positive diversity–stability relationships. These results support the utility of species phylogenetic knowledge for predicting ecosystem functions and their stability.

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Additional Information:© 2014 The Author. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Botanical Society of China. Received: 7 March 2013, Revised: 13 October 2013, Accepted: 16 October 2013. First published online: January 24, 2014. We thank the organizers of this special issue for the invitation to submit this manuscript. US National Science Foundation (DEB-1120281, DEB-1257858); Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship from California Institute of Technology (to P.D.).
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Caltech Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:biodiversity; environmental fluctuation; the insurance effect; phylogenetic diversity; temporal stability
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140603-083915100
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:46040
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:03 Jun 2014 16:43
Last Modified:04 Nov 2019 22:54

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